Share vs Platform Economy
Keywords:platform economy, sharing economy, Polanyi
This commentary on the article by Grabher and König focuses on the controversy in the literature between "sharing economy" and "platform economy". In light of the theoretical and historical perspective expressed by Karl Polanyi in his classic The Great Transformation and adopted by the two authors, sharing economy can be interpreted as an attempt of a resocialization of the economy, while platform economy seems to fully realize what Polanyi calls the "market society". Grabher and König rightly criticize Polanyi’s "double movement", but, in our opinion, they do not draw all the consequences of their criticism. In fact, the theoretical structure they propose fails to explain the reasons why the 1929 crisis was followed by a process of re-embedding of the economy through state intervention, while after the 2008 crisis this process did not take place and the neoliberal model continued to rule the society. Indeed, with the diffusion of the platform economy this model has been further strengthened. Nevertheless, we still believe that digital technologies are in themselves open to different forms of underlying social relations and internal governance. Therefore, it is on such relationships that theoretical attention and political action should be focused. A movement that intends to change the present situation can effectively leverage the new technologies, by guiding them towards reciprocity relations capable of revitalizing the civil society and the internal cohesion of the democratic state.
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